Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) – mainly cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes – are the biggest cause of death worldwide. More than 36 million die annually from NCDs (63% of global deaths), including 14 million people who die too young before the age of 70. More than 90% of these premature deaths from NCDs occur in low- and middle-income countries, and could have largely been prevented. Most premature deaths are linked to common risk factors, namely tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and harmful use of alcohol.
To strengthen national efforts to address the burden of NCDs, the 66th World Health Assembly endorsed the WHO Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of NCDs 2013-2020 (resolution WHA66.10). The global action plan offers a paradigm shift by providing a road map and a menu of policy options for Member States, WHO, other UN organizations and intergovernmental organizations, NGOs and the private sector which, when implemented collectively between 2013 and 2020, will attain 9 voluntary global targets, including that of a 25% relative reduction in premature mortality from NCDs by 2025.
The WHO Global NCD Action Plan 2013-2020 follows on from commitments made by Heads of State and Government in the United Nations Political Declaration on the Prevention and Control of NCDs (resolution A/RES/66/2), recognizing the primary role and responsibility of Governments in responding to the challenge of NCDs and the important role of international cooperation to support national efforts.